“Did you expect this?” asked the Principal after shaking my hand. “Yer-mo,” I replied. “I mean, er, to – an extent!” Her question had been rhetorical, of course. Who expects to be coordinating a year level in their second year of teaching.
By the role description, the year level coordinator’s responsibilities are great, extending to “all matters relating to the overall welfare of students at a particular year level.” Those stakes would be high for the coordinator of a handful of adults, let alone 120 teenagers during their last years of high school. Lately my dreams have been troubled.
Thankfully, schools contain elaborate and experienced teams, replete with experience. My first year of teaching has been more mentored than the rest of my working life combined, and my work as a YLC will happen in the same context. Counsellors, chaplains, heads of curriculum, faculty coordinators, heads of school, teachers, registrars, other YLCs – I’ll messily collaborate with all of these workers, even before making professional connections outside my own school.
But a better answer comes further down the role description. The year level coordinator is asked to ensure a smooth transition for students to the next level; importantly, “this involves a deep knowledge and understanding of the students.” My best resource next year will be this knowledge and understanding, developed in partnership with students and their families, systematically and ad-hoc, cumulative and all-of-a-sudden.
I was introduced to my year level on their last day of school. I said something about the summer holidays, casting my eye across the assembly. I met gazes as hopeful as my own.